Carina Baverstock Couture, National Winner 2013
It’s the most iconic shopping trip in any woman’s life – the expedition into the world of bridal wear to find a perfect wedding dress. Bridal boutiques are often the first port of call for recently engaged girls looking to find ‘the one’ and in the Best Bridal Retailer category, we’re looking to find the shops the provide ‘the one’ and much, much more.
The Best Bridal Retailer doesn’t just focus on wedding dresses but encapsulates those wedding businesses who are also responsible for dressing bridesmaids and the mothers of the bride and groom as well. We know that every lady in the wedding party wants to look nothing short of immaculate, so this category recognises the contribution that retailers make to all these principal characters.
As a quintessential retail experience, brides are more acutely aware of the customer service they receive than perhaps at any other time. They want their bridal boutique to be just as excited about their impending nuptials as they are; they want to be given time and space to make a decision about perhaps the biggest sartorial investment they’ll ever make; and they want choosing their bridal wear to be part of the magical journey of getting married.
What many brides might not realize – perhaps even until long after they’ve married – is that bridal retailers are fulfilling many roles even as they appear to only be helping you into your dress. Anyone who’s spent any length of time in a wedding boutique soon realizes that brides often need some gentle guidance based on bona fide experience to help coach them on what they need as well as what they want.
The Wedding Industry Awards judging panel has many things to consider when assessing the Best Bridal Retailer category. There’s the way that staff become a substitute stylist, therapist, mediator, mother, best friend and planner during their time with their brides. There’s the knowledge that extends beyond bridal wear to textiles, pattern cutting and trend spotting to ensure they’re buying in the right collections from the right designers. There’s the unending patience that comes with the territory of having customers that may change their mind at any time whilst demanding nothing short of 110% to ensure they continue to feel like princesses.
There’s no doubt that bridal retailers are probably the suppliers who most frequently hear the words “What a lovely job you have!” and yet have so much hard work behind the scenes. When they’re not on the shop floor ensuring that their brides, maids and mums feel fabulous, they’re investing untold hours into everything from chasing orders to propagating their presence within the wedding industry.
As such the Best Bridal Retailer category seeks to recognize the contribution that these wedding suppliers make not only to a seamless, memorable shopping experience for their clients, but the foundations they lay within the industry from which brides step into the rest of their wedding planning.
If you had an outstanding experience in a bridal boutique, why not nominate them for TWIA 2014? We’d love to hear what made your encounter stand out in your mind. If you run a successful bridal business and continue to exceed your customers’ expectations, you can enter The Wedding Industry Awards on our website now.